Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 27 February 1980
Page: 434

Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) - I rise to support the motion moved this afternoon by the Leader of the House (Mr Viner). Perhaps it is appropriate that I should follow the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young). If political thinking were classified as advertising the honourable member for Port Adelaide could be subject to prosecution for exaggeration. I know that he is an optimist. He has been into the electorate of Lyne. The unfortunate thing is that he has been encouraging the Labor candidate there to think that he has a slight chance in the forthcoming election. I realise that many members of the Opposition have to be extreme optimists in order to be here, but I think that is carrying things to a really unreal conclusion.

Quite seriously, I wish to refer to one of the factors relating to this motion and to what has happened in this House. I think it is something that everyone in Australia has to look at. I fully appreciate the fact that one has to be careful when one is getting on in years a little not to look back and say: 'Well, things are not like they were when we were younger'. But there is reason for serious consideration of the political situation in Australia today. It appears to me that some members of the Opposition have almost a death wish never to be members of a government and never to be able to form a government. If one looks at what has happened in recent years, one realises that one of the weaknesses of any democracy is the weakness of an Opposition. That has been the situation in Australian politics for a long period. As I have said, that should cause the people of Australia a great deal of concern.

There was an article in one of the newspapers regarding the performance of the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) both in the House and in the country. The article called him the champ, which is perfectly correct, and talked about how easy it was for him to be able to defeat the Leader of the Opposition in the ring, using a boxing match as an illustration. I cannot quite accept that illustration because, to my mind, the Prime Minister would have to be the greatest shadow boxer in the world to have any success against the Leader of the Opposition in the ring, as every time the Leader of the Opposition climbs up onto the steps to get back into the ring someone in his own party or organisation kicks the stairs from underneath him. He has yet to get into the ring to engage the Prime Minister with any strength or capacity. This is not good.

Unfortunately, this carries through to the economic situation in which we in Australia find ourselves. We have problems and difficulties with our unions and their leaders. Some sections of the industrial wing of the Australian Labor Party are doing everything they can to undermine the economic strength, progress and development of this country. I say quite seriously that if this country is to progress and if we are to achieve those things that it is possible for us to achieve, because of the great advantages that we have, there will have to be a change of outlook by something like 90 per cent of the members of the Opposition, the unions and the left wing people in this country. They are doing everything they can to undermine the progress and development of this country in the twentieth century. That is one of the elements of the debate this afternoon. It is one of the elements that has been indicative of the debates and discussions in this House.

I hesitate to quote a member of the Labor Party in an endeavour to show how he thinks because I know, firstly, that it presents difficulties and, secondly, that sometimes it is unfair as one can quote that member out of context, but I have had quite an association with one of its members, Senator Wheeldon, who is a senator from Western Australia, and I want to quote him. He was the Chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on an occasion when I was a member of it. There were many occasions on which I disagreed with him and there were many times when our thoughts and considerations were exactly opposite, but I think that the words that he used in the speech he made in the Senate in regard to this matter should be considered very seriously by many Australians, particularly by members of his own party. He said:

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is inexcusable. It is a monstrous action of imperialism which the Soviet Government has taken against a neighbouring country. I do not believe that anybody would criticise an Australian government or the government of any democratic country for taking strong action to show its disapproval and condemnation of what the government in Moscow has done. It is an outrageous piece of behaviour. It is a piece of the most rampant aggression that one could imagine. What has happened is that a small country neighbouring the Soviet Union has been invaded. The people of that country are being subjected to brutality and armed intervention and are being placed in the position where they will be reduced to an appendage of the Soviet Union, a colony of the Soviet Union. It is an action which is contrary to principles of international law and contrary to principles devoted to the preservation of world peace.

I believe that the statement which was made this month at the meering of the Socialist International, the international body of social democratic and socialist parties throughout the world- an organisation to which the Australian Labor Party is affiliated- is a completely appropriate one. It states that the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan has violated international law as well as the sovereignty and right of self-determination of that country. The Socialist International condemns the intervention of the Soviet armed forces in Afghanistan and calls upon the Soviet Union to withdraw all of its troops from that country. I think that is the only position to which any civilised person who believes in democracy and in equitable and just relations between nations would subscribe. Condemnation can be the only consequence of the Soviet action in Afghanistan.

There are some things which Senator Wheeldon said and which I do not agree with, but that is a basis for approaching the matter. All the fobble-bobble in the world from the Opposition cannot disguise that fact. Members of the Opposition can say: 'You should not do this, that or anything else', and they can say in words that they condemn the actions of the Soviet Union but it is only by stopping the participation of Australians and others in the Olympic Games that we will give tangible expression to our obvious opposition to the actions of the Soviet Union. That cannot be denied.

I know that there are problems and difficulties. President Carter did say that if the Soviet Union took certain action the United States of America would go ahead with the Olympic Games. I know that it will pose problems if we stop them training and then suddenly turn round and say that it is all right for them to go because certain things have happened. That brings me back to the fact that our participation in the Olympic Games is an indication of our acceptance of the Soviet Union's policy. If we dissociate ourselves from it we are at least producing evidence of our strong disapproval of the Soviet Union's actions.

I have had the great privilege of being able to go to Kenya on four or five occasions. It is rather an indictment of certain sections of Australian thinking that we are fiddling and muddling about with this matter whereas a small country like that has said what action it will take. We have to give a lead. It is no good saying: 'If you do it, I will do it'. It is like a kid going out into the backyard and saying: 'I will play if you are going to play, but I will not if you are not. If you don't do it in the way I want I will take. my bat home'. Australia has to support the Prime Minister by saying where it stands on the matter.

One of the proudest moments of my time in this House, irrespective of politics, was when the late Sir Arthur Fadden said: 'This policy is correct and no matter what the reaction is I certainly will stand by it'. Some of the older members of this House may recall that he once said about a meeting of his friends that he could have it in a telephone booth and it would not be overcrowded. He stood firm on an economic decision. He said: 'If we lose seats it does not matter. What matters is the future of this country'.

Mr McVeigh -Who was that?

Mr LUCOCK -That was the late Sir Arthur Fadden. The honourable member has many of the same characteristics of the late Sir Arthur Fadden. Surely these things are important. The views expressed in a public opinion poll can change in five minutes. There are certain things that a government has to stand firm on and say: This is where we stand', irrespective of what may be said in public opinion polls or anywhere else. In the time that I have been a member of this Parliament- there are others who have been here longer- I have seen public opinion polls say this or that has been going to happen and it has not even looked like happening.

Senator Wheeldonalso spoke about a particular time that many people may have forgotten when he said:

But that is only one episode in a long chronical of similar actions of the Soviet Government. What could have been more brutal than the smashing of the Government and people of Hungary. In 1956 the Soviet Union destroyed a communist government in Hungary.

He went on to say that by devious and dishonest means the Soviet Union took the Premier out of the way and then finally annihilated him. It turned round and by employing a ruthless dictatorship took over a country that was endeavouring to show a degree of independence. I had the privilege of being at the United Nations in that particular year. A motion of the United Nations was carried unanimously when the United Nations was a little bit more important than it is today. What effect did that resolution have? The Soviet Union told the United Nations to go and jump in the lake. It told the United Nations something else but if I said what was actually said you, Sir, would rule my remarks as unparliamentary. This is the same type of thing as far as any resolution of the United Nations or anything else that we can do is concerned. In regard to trade, I still think we should keep that factor and action fluid. But the one thing that the Soviet Union will see is the lack of participation of countries in the Olympic Games. This I believe, as I said earlier, is the one thing that can have a more damaging effect on the Soviet Union than anything else.

Let us have a look at what has happened in regard to the human rights of individuals in the Soviet Union. Has any protest, motion or action had any effect? I would be prepared to say that if one goes to the Soviet Union and talks to the people one would find that they would not even know that the United Nations had passed a resolution, they would not even know that this or that or something else had happened. If we do not participate in the Games there has got to be an explanation and there has got to be a reason for our not being there. If the major countriesthis is on the conscience of the major countriestake this action they will be taking action on something that will have the effect of showing this is where we stand and this is where the line has to be drawn.

One other thing that I must confess rather amazes me is the number of people who say that sport and politics should not be mixed. Did those people say that when they stopped South Africa participating in cricket, tennis and football and all of the other sports? Many of us said: 'Look, let these people come because we can talk to them. Let them come because their government is taking some action and we are hoping to encourage them to take further action '. But these people said: 'No, let us have nothing to do with them at all'. Is it not strange that these ratbag left wing elements in that party and in the unions are now suddenly piously and sanctimoniously throwing up their hands and saying: 'Do not let us participate in the sport and politics mixture. Let us keep it out, and let us have sport without polities'. I support the Government and I hope that we continue to take this stand in this situation.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member's time has expired.

Suggest corrections